John 2:18 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentObserve here, 1. How exceedingly offended the Jews were at the reformation which our Saviour had made in the house of God; they were awed indeed with the majesty of this great work, and durst not openly oppose, but secretly malign it.
Thence note, That redress of abuses in God's worship, especially if it crosses our ease, and controls our profit, (as this did), is usually distasted.
Observe, 2. How these Jews discover their old inveterate disease of infidelity; they require a sign, and call for a miracle to justify Christ's commission. Why! had they not a miracle before their eyes? Was not the work of purging the temple a wonderful miracle? Yet they demanded another miracle to make this good.
Learn thence, That obstinate infidelity will not be satisfied with the most sufficient means for satisfaction, but still object and oppose against the clearest, the fullest, and most convincing evidence. What sign showest thou us? says the Jews, when they had so many signs and wonders daily before their eyes.
Observe, 3. The Jews demanding a sign. our Saviour grants them one; he remits them to his death and resurrection, to prove that he was the true Messiah. Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. That is, "I know you will destroy this temple of my body, by putting me to deaeth; but I will raise myself again from the grave the third day." Christ did not command them to destroy his body, but only foretold that they would do it. Non est verbum Praecepti, sed Praedictionis: "The words are not imperative, but only predictive and permissive." Christ did not bid them destroy his body, but foretells what they would do. "Ye will destroy this temple, but after three days I will raise it up."
Where note, That Christ asserts his own power in raising his own body from the dead. True! The Father is often said to raise him, and it is necessary that it be so said, that it might appear that divine justice was fully satisfied for our sins, in that he was by him delivered from that death which he underwent for us.
But yet it is often asserted, That Christ raised himself, and that he was quickened by the Spirit, which was as well the Spirit of the Son, as of the Father, dwelling essentially in him.
Now from Christ's foretelling his passion and resurrection, learn thence, that all our Saviour's sufferings wee foreknown unto him, were foretold by him; he would not prevent them, but willingly permitted them, and cheerfully underwent them. Destroy this temple.
Note here, 1. The state and dignity of Christ's holy body: 'Tis a temple. He spake of the temple of his body. The saints' bodies are temples by special sanctification: Christ's body was a temple by substantial inhabitation. The divinity of Christ dwelt in his humanity personally and immediately. God dwells in saints by regal authority; he dwelt in Christ's humanity by personal residence.
Note, 2. The violence and indignity offered to this holy temple at our Saviour's death, it was pulled down and destroyed; death dissolved the union betwixt our Saviour's soul and body; but there was a closer union, which no violence of death could dissolve: namely, the union of his godhead with his manhood; this was incapable either of dissolution or destruction.
Note, 3. The repairing, restoring, and raising up of this temple out of the ruins of it, by our Saviour's resurrection. In three days I will raise it up.
Observe, A full proof of our Saviour's divinity. To raise a dead man exceeds the power of nature; but for a dead man to raise himself, requires the power of God. We read of dead men raised by others; but none but Christ ever raised himself. The Jews could not say, he raised others from the grace, himself he could not raise.
Inference, 1. Was Christ's body a temple? so shall ours be too; temples for the Holy Ghost to dwell in. Temples by special appropriation, temples by solemn consecration, temples by actual employment: If any man defile this temple, him will God destroy.
2. Was the temple of Christ's body pulled down by death, and destroyed; so must also the temples of our bodies ere long. The temple of his body was pulled down for our sin; the temples of our bodies ruined by our sin. Sin brought mortality into our natures, and the wages of our sin is death.
3. Was the temple of Christ's body repaired in the morning of the resurrection? So shall the temple of our bodies also, if we be the members of Christ by a vital union. Thy dead men, O blessed redeemer! shall live; together with thy dead body shall they arise. Awake then and sing, ye that dwell in the dust, for the dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead, Isa 26:19
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.